A solo travelling exhibition on Benin iconography and semiotics, Uhunmwen whe ehinmwen by Princess Theresa Oghogho Iyase-Odozi of Green House Art Empowerment Centre, in collaboration with Crowne Art Gallery will open on October 26 at The Hexagon, Crowne Art Gallery, GRA, Benin City, Edo State. Special guests of honour at the opening are Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Osaze Osemwengie-Ero and Enogie of Evbubanosa/Abudu Prof Gregory I. Akenzua, The exhibition, which is a follow-up to the interactive session held in June in Lagos, was initiated by Princess Theresa Oghogho Iyase-Odozi, and focuses on Benin art, iconography and semiotics. It consists of five main components: mixed-media paintings, art installations, textiles, an empowerment workshop and publication of an art journal. The travelling exhibition will run for four weeks before moving to Lagos and later to Abuja in 2020.
According to the artist, one of the main objectives of mounting the exhibition is to honour His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, in appreciation of his commendable efforts to revitalise Benin cultural heritage and project it to the world at large. “We are also inspired by His Majesty’s plan to establish an academy for art, culture and tourism to be named the Benin Royal Academy of Performing Arts. Consequently, we would like to use the opportunity offered by this Exhibition to honour him on the occasion of his 2019 birthday celebrations.
“Another key objective of the exhibition is to create awareness and publicise appropriations of the rich Benin icons found on artefacts dating as far back as the 16th Century which are now being deployed by the exhibiting artist in her endeavour to revive the waning culture of Edo batik clothing,” she said. During the exhibition, the artist will present some of her findings in visual art appropriations in the creation of her Edo batik clothing line and reveal the myths surrounding the popular Ebe Ewere leaves used during the Benin Igue Festival. Princess Iyase-Odozi, visual artist, writer, curator, empowerment-expert and community leader a was born into the family of Iyase N’Udo of Udo, Benin City, Edo State. She received her B.A. Degree in Creative Arts (Painting) and M.A. Visual Art Education both from the University of Lagos. She is currently a Ph.D. research student in the Department of Creative Arts at the same university.